Driving Industrial Energy Efficiency with Better Plants and ENERGY STAR 
Valuable resources for industrial facilities seeking to enhance energy efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and achieve long-term sustainability goals

As industries navigate the complexities of modern manufacturing, optimizing energy usage has become essential for enhancing competitiveness, reducing costs, and mitigating environmental impact. In this blog, we delve into two prominent initiatives at the forefront of industrial energy efficiency: the Better Plants and ENERGY STAR Industrial Programs. While both are aimed at promoting energy efficiency in industrial settings, they differ in their focus, scope, and implementation approach.

Better Plants Program

The Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program is a voluntary initiative aimed at improving energy efficiency and sustainability within the industrial sector. Launched in 2011, the program partners with leading manufacturers to set ambitious energy-saving goals and implement strategies to achieve them.

One of the key features of the Better Plants Program is its focus on collaborative learning and sharing of best practices. Participating companies gain access to a wealth of resources, tools, and technical assistance provided by the Department of Energy and fellow industry peers. Through workshops, webinars, and networking events, companies exchange valuable insights and lessons learned, accelerating the adoption of innovative energy-saving technologies and practices.

The Better Plants Program also emphasizes the importance of data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement. Companies track and report their energy performance metrics regularly, allowing for benchmarking against industry standards and identifying areas for further optimization. By leveraging advanced analytics and performance metrics, companies can make informed decisions and prioritize investments in energy-saving projects with the highest potential for impact.

The Better Plants Challenge is an integral component of the Better Plants program. Within the broader framework of the Better Plants program, the Better Plants Challenge represents a commitment by participating companies to set ambitious energy-saving goals and publicly share their progress. By joining the Better Plants Challenge, companies pledge to achieve energy intensity reduction goals, typically set at 25% over ten years. Through this challenge, companies receive technical assistance, resources, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities to help them achieve their energy efficiency goals. The Better Plants Challenge not only drives innovation and collaboration among participating companies but also serves as a catalyst for broader industry-wide energy efficiency improvements.

Better Plants fosters a culture of transparency and accountability that continually inspires other organizations to push toward a more sustainable future. More information can be found here on the program’s website.

ENERGY STAR Industrial Program

Complementing the Better Plants initiative is the ENERGY STAR Industrial Partner Program, a cornerstone of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to promote energy efficiency in manufacturing. This program offers a comprehensive framework for improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in industrial facilities. The ENERGY STAR partnership is open to any manufacturing company with operations in the United States.  As a voluntary program, there are no fees, legal commitments, nor reporting requirements for Partners.

One of the program’s primary objectives is to help industrial facilities benchmark their energy performance against industry standards and identify opportunities for improvement. Through energy performance tracking and reporting, companies can measure their progress, set achievable goals, and prioritize energy-saving initiatives effectively.

The ENERGY STAR Industrial Partner Program also promotes the adoption of best practices and innovative technologies to optimize energy usage across various industrial processes. Participating companies learn from industry leaders, access case studies and success stories, and stay updated on the latest trends and developments in energy management.

The program’s emphasis on continuous improvement and collaboration fosters a culture of innovation and excellence within the industrial sector. Companies that excel in energy management receive recognition and certification from the EPA. This recognition comes in two forms, ENERGY STAR industrial certification and the annual ENERGY STAR Industrial Partner Awards.

  • ENERGY STAR industrial certification signifies that a facility has achieved exceptional levels of energy efficiency compared to its peers within the same industry. Certified manufacturing plants located in the U.S. and its territories and Canada can earn ENERGY STAR certification and display the ENERGY STAR emblem like those seen on appliances and electronics in the marketplace. EPIs, the EPA’s benchmarking tools for industrial plants, measure a plant’s energy performance in terms of energy per unit of production. This score is then compared to that of similar plants nationwide, generating an ENERGY STAR score on a scale of 1 to 100. To earn certification, manufacturing plants must achieve an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher.

  • The ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Awards are bestowed upon industrial facilities and companies that demonstrate exceptional leadership in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. These awards honor organizations that have achieved significant energy savings, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and demonstrated a commitment to sustainability within their operations. By recognizing and celebrating these achievements, these ENERGY STAR Industrial Partner Awards inspire other industrial facilities contribute to a more sustainable future.

ENERGY STAR serves as a catalyst for driving energy efficiency and innovation within the industrial sector, empowering companies to reduce energy consumption, lower operating costs, and mitigate environmental impact while enhancing competitiveness and long-term sustainability. More information can be found here on the program’s website .

Both the Better Plants ENERGY STAR Industrial Programs are valuable resources for industrial facilities seeking to enhance energy efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and achieve long-term sustainability goals. By leveraging the tools and resource of these programs s, organizations can drive meaningful change, optimize operations, and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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